Fitness blogger: “Having a baby changed the way I feel about my body.”

Body image. It’s that little voice in our heads that tells that we don’t look like we should. That voice once got so strong for me that I couldn’t hear anything else in my head except for the words ‘you need to be skinnier’.

I had never been overweight. I was an active person up until my last year of high school when I was diagnosed with depression. After that, I turned to alcohol and that’s what I stuck with for many years, leading me to carry around that little bit of extra drinking weight.

I didn’t really have any qualms about my appearance until a new friend came into my life and she was quite skinny. She shared with me her experiences with eating disorders over the years and then all of a sudden it clicked in my head that I needed to be skinnier. It went downhill from there.

I drastically changed what and how I was eating, and I was drinking myself to oblivion any chance that I got. The weight dropped off and before I knew it, what I considered to be compliments began flowing. “You’ve lost weight” or “You’re looking really thin” – I was loving it, however no one, not even my boyfriend at the time knew what was going on.

"I taught myself about nutrition and what my body needed to be the best that it could." Photo source: supplied

Believe it or not, I secretly kept these habits going until the day that I found out that I was pregnant with my first child. I should not have been able to get pregnant, my body was a mess and after all the things that I had done to it over the years, it was a miracle. The moment I came to terms with being pregnant, I went out and devoured a foot long sub. Eating disorder? What eating disorder?

I was ready to begin a new life, I was about to become a mother, so I needed to change. However when I was 3 months pregnant, I was dumped and I spiralled into a horrible depression where I could not physically eat anything. I was trying so hard to become a better person for my baby, I really tried, but the stress was far too much for me and I was then diagnosed with gestational diabetes.

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From then on, I had to learn to be healthy. If this baby was going to be healthy, I had to be too. I taught myself about nutrition and what my body needed to be the best that it could. I eliminated the stress from my life (as much as I could!) and I created healthy habits. It didn’t matter to me how much weight that I had put on in my pregnancy, all that mattered to me was that my daughter was safe.

I remember when Madi was a few months old that I wanted to get back into shape – the right way. I joined a gym, I started eating really healthily and it made me a happier person. I developed such a love for exercise and this new life that I had started living that I no longer worried about how my body looked, as long as I was healthy. I was proud of my mum-bod, I mean, somehow I had managed to grow a baby in there!

The childbirth questions you were too afraid to ask, answered. Post continues below...

Video by Mamamia

These days I can think back to when I used to starve myself and realise that an eating disorder really is a mental disease. It controls your mind and I was lucky enough to have such an incredibly strong reason to recover, whereas for most, it’s just not that easy.

It takes a while to create healthy habits, but for myself and my two little ones, it’s just normal now. We eat well, we eat often and we’re active – all because we love it!

Visit author Lauren Patterson's blog MadMaxMum, Facebook, and Instagram. 

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